A Single Minute

I dreamt about Shawn last night.  We were at a CD release party for a friend and her husband.  We were sitting together at a picnic table listening to an outdoor concert and enjoying good food.  Shawn was eating something grilled.  I could make out every detail of him.  I love to see him vividly.  I love to stare at him in my dreams. 

I remember telling him in the dream that “I am so lucky”.  I kept repeating this phrase, “I am so lucky, Shawn.  You are back!  Now I know exactly how to treat you.  I know exactly how to love you.  Look around, not many people have the opportunity to go through what we have experienced.  They will never know the depths of our love.  They will never fully understand what we have together.  I wish they could know, Shawn.  I wish they knew how lucky I was to be able to love you and now have a second chance to love you better this new time around!  I am so lucky!”

One common theme to all dreams is that I eventually wake up.

Not all dreams are easily remembered.  This one was easy to recollect.  It reminded me of a phrase in my Eulogy Letter to Shawn, “I would not waste a single breath on things that don’t matter…I wouldn’t waste one minute not loving you”.  What is a single breath?  What is a one minute?

A single minute means taking the opportunity to praise instead of criticize.  It means thinking before I speak.  It means changing me before expecting you to change you.  It means saying “I’m sorry” earlier than I anticipated.  It means giving up something I wanted.  It means not always being right.  It means finding as many ways as I can to build you up.  It means noticing the good first. 

I remember this summer Shawn told me that our car was in need of a tune-up, in addition to some other repairs.  He explained to me the importance of starting the car half-way before turning the key completely over in the ignition.  He taught me to insert the key, give it a quarter turn, and take a second or two to put on my seatbelt before continuing to start the car.  He informed me that this practice would be better for our car in the long run.  I didn’t completely understand, but I listened. 

Weeks later Shawn noticed I was starting the car exactly as he had instructed.  I wasn’t taking any shortcuts.  He smiled and said, “that’s great that you are starting the car like that.”  I remember feeling so pleased to be “caught”.  I felt affirmed to receive his compliment, to know it was sincere and to be praised for what I was doing.  I imagine now that Shawn was also feeling good about the situation knowing that he had been respected and heard.

This is what I mean by single breaths and single minutes.  They come in the most simple of occasions.  We aren’t called to do big things within our days.  We are called to do a number of small tasks with sincerity and commitment.  Only we have the power to make the menial meaningful.

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